2022 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Review – Back in the Mix

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2022 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Fast Facts

Powertrain
3.8-liter V6 (310 horsepower @ 6,400 RPM, 281 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM)
Transmission/Drive Wheels
Nine-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, U.S.
17 city / 22 highway / 19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
Fuel Economy, Canada
13.7 city / 10.6 highway / 12.3 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$37,240 (U.S) / $48,498 (Canada)
As-Tested Price
$44,315 (U.S.) / $54,147 (Canada)
Prices include $1,150 destination charge in the United States and $2,050 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.
2022 nissan frontier pro 4x review back in the mix

Nissan finally updated the Frontier mid-size pickup for 2022, thus finally bringing an aging truck current.

But staying up to date isn’t always enough. Did the Frontier suddenly become a much stronger competitor?


Working its favor is that most of the rest of the segment is also a bit long in the tooth, though some fresh blood is coming for 2023. But the old Frontier was, well, old that Nissan would have to take some strong leaps forward to really be in the mix.

Speaking of a mix – that’s how the verdict is. Mixed.

Before we get too deep into this, let’s pause to remember that the frame isn’t exactly new – a lot of the bits and pieces we can’t see carryover. That includes the 310 horsepower, 3.8-liter V6. That said, the truck wears new duds, inside and out, and that’s a good thing.

It’s a more handsome truck than before – though the old design wasn’t so much ugly as it was dated. It looked like a relic from the Aughts. This Frontier’s reskin is handsome in a macho way – befitting of a truck.

The cabin is also much, much nicer, with a clean design that integrates the infotainment screen. Buttons and knobs aren’t sacrificed here, thankfully. There are flaws – Nissan’s infotainment system feels a tad dated, and despite the addition of sorely-needed soft-touch surfaces, some materials feel a little downmarket – but it’s a much more modern place to do business than before. You feel like you’re in the correct year, at least.

I will note that my test unit was a pre-production model, so that needs to be taken into account when talking about fit and finish.

On road, the V6 is smooth and torquey but the Frontier feels a tad heavy in terms of acceleration. The steering is also heavy, too – unusually so. But the ride quality leaned toward smooth, even in the PRO-4X off-road trim. It drives like a truck, yes, but that will be a good thing for many buyers. If you’re in search of a more car-like experience, Honda’s Ridgeline beckons. For a better balance between the two worlds, try Ford’s Ranger. But if you’re interested in brawny, truck-like manners without a major ride-quality sacrifice, the Frontier delivers.

A four-wheel-drive PRO-4X carries the highest base price of any Frontier trim, and my tester based at $37,240. The PRO-4X is meant to go off-road, so it gets skid plates, Bilstein off-road shocks, an electronically-locking rear differential, and all-terrain tires on 17-inch wheels. Other key standard or available features tied to the PRO-4X trim include fender flares, LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, navigation, Wi-Fi hotspot, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, red-painted tow hooks, a unique grille, PRO-4X interior and exterior badging, unique stitching and interior trim, full-size spare, and LED interior lighting.

A Tech Package added lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear sonar, rear automatic braking, high-beam assist, traffic-sign recognition, and smart cruise control for $990.

For $1,990, a PRO Convenience package added a spray-in bedliner, tie-down cleats, 120-volt power outlets in the center console and truck bed, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated side-view mirrors, bed lighting, trailer hitch with wiring harness, remote start, wireless charger for phones, and a 360-degree camera.

A PRO Premium Package adds Fender audio, leather seats, black alloy wheels, a power sunroof, and more for $2,790.

Add $155 for floor mats and the $1,150 destination fee and you have a $44,315 truck that’s vastly improved over the previous generation. But is it good enough?

At the very least, it’s good enough to compete. It’s better, especially in the cabin, than the ancient Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, though newer versions of both are on the way. The cabin is on par with, if not better than, the Toyota Tacoma’s. The overall drive experience, however, leaves something to be desired when compared with the Ford Ranger or Honda Ridgeline. The Frontier PRO-4X does mix ruggedness with gentility better than the utilitarian Jeep Gladiator, but then, so do the other trucks.

The good news for Nissan is that the Frontier is back in the mix. The bad news is that it misses an opportunity to take the lead.

What’s New for 2022

While it carries over a fair bit of under-the-metal mechanical bits, the 2022 Nissan Frontier has a redesigned exterior and interior.

Who Should Buy It

Nissan fans, truck buyers who are looking for something a bit different yet still competitive.

[Images: Nissan]

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2 of 29 comments
  • Mike Mike on Sep 05, 2022

    I sold 2 cars earlier this year due to the market and needed a cheap lease for my wife. Local dealer was doing 292.50$ 0 down for an 18 month 18k mile lease for a base S 4x4 quad cab. I couldn’t pass it up, we have had it for 8 months and it has not only proven to be incredibly useful, but actually quite comfortable for a truck. Power is more than adequate, strong acceleration IMO, gas mileage is only average 17ish mostly in town driving. I would definitely considering owning one in a higher trim when our lease is up and hopefully the market has stabilized

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 06, 2022

    For those of us who don't want turbo 4s especially with the 2023 Colorado/Canyon offering only a turbo 4 this would be our top choice. The efficiency of a non turbo V6 compared to a turbo 4 is not much different but the longevity of the V6 versus a turbo 4 is much greater. If I were in the market for a midsize pickup the Frontier would definitely be a the top of my list.

  • Dukeisduke I still think the name Bzzzzzzzzzzt! would have been better.
  • Dukeisduke I subscribed to both Road & Track and Car and Driver for over 25 years, but it's been close to 20 years since I dropped both. I tried their digital versions with their reader software (can't remember the name now), but it wasn't the same. I let it lapse after a year.From what I've seen of R&T's print version, it's turned into more of a lifestyle thing like The Robb Report. I haven't seen an issue of C/D in a while.I enjoyed both magazines a lot when I was subscribing. R&T for the road tests (especially the April Fools road tests), used car reviews, historical articles, and columns like Peter Egan's Side Glances and Dennis Simanitis's Technical Correspondence. And C/D for the road tests and pithy commentary, and columns like Gordon Baxter's, and Jean Shepherd's (that goes way back to the early '70s).
  • Steve Biro It takes very clever or amusing content for me to sit through a video vehicle review. And most do not include that.Tim, you wrote :"Niche titles aren't dying because of a lack of interest from enthusiasts, but because of broader changes in the economics of media, at least in this author's opinion."You're right about the broader changes in economics. But the truth is that there IS a lack of interest from enthusiasts. Part of it is demographics. Young people coming up are generally not car and truck fans. That doesn't mean there are no young enthusiasts but the numbers are much smaller. And even those who consider themselves enthusiasts seem to have mixed feelings. Just take a look at Jalopnik.And then we come to the real problem: The vast majority of new vehicles coming out today are not interesting to enthusiasts, are not fun to drive and/or are just not affordable.You can argue that EVs are technically interesting and should create enthusiasm. But the truth is they are not fun to drive, don't work well enough yet for most people and are very expensive.EVs on the race track? Have you ever been to a Formula E race? Please.And even if we set EVs aside, the electronic nannies that are being forced on us pretty much preclude a satisfying driving experience in any brand-new vehicle, regardless of propulsion system. Sure, many consumers who view cars as transportation appliances may welcome this technology. But they are not enthusiasts. I don't know about you, but I and most car fans I know don't want smart phones on wheels.There is simply not that much of interest to write about. Car and Driver and Road & Track are dipping deeper into nostalgia and their archives as a result. R&T is big on sponsoring road trips for enthusiasts - which is a great idea. But only people with money to burn need apply.And then there is the problem of quality in automotive writing. As more experienced people are let go and more money is cut from publications, the quality and length of pieces keeps going down, leading to the inevitable self-fulfilling prophecy.Even the output on this site is sharply reduced from its peak. And the number of responses to posts seems a small fraction of what it used to be. This is my first comment since the site was recently relaunched. I don't expect to be making many in the future.Frankly Tim - and it gives me no pleasure to write this - but your post makes me feel as though the people running this site have run out of ideas and TTAC's days may be numbered.Cutbacks in automotive journalism are upsetting. But, until there is something exciting and fun to write about, they are going to continue. Perhaps automotive enthusiasm really was a 20th century phenomenon..
  • THX1136 I think that the good ole interwebs is at least partially to blame. When folks can get content for free, what is the motivation to pay to read? I'm guilty of this big time. Gotta pay to read!? Forget it! I'll go somewhere else or do without. And since a majority of folks have that portable PC disguised as a phone in their pocket, no need for print. The amount of info easily available is the other factor the web brings to bear. It's perhaps harder now to stand out. Standing out is necessary to continued success.In an industry I've been interested (and participated) in, the one magazine (Mix) I subscribed to has become a shadow of it's former self (200 pgs now down to 75). I like print for the reasons mentioned by another earlier. I can 'access' it in a non-linear fashion and it's easily portable for me. (Don't own a smarty pants phone and don't plan to at the moment.)I would agree with others: useful comparison reviews, unique content not easily available other places, occasional ringers (Baruth, Sajeev, et al) - it would be attractive to me anyway. I enjoy Corey, Matt and Murilee and hope they continue to contribute here.
  • Daniel J I wish auto journos would do more comparisons. They do some but many are just from notes from a previous review compared to a new review. I see where journos go out to a location and test drive and review a vehicle on location but that does absolutely nothing for me without any comparison to similar cars. I also wish more journos spent more time on seat comfort. I guess that doesn't matter much when many journos seem to be smaller folks where comfort isn't as important. Ergonomics are usually just glossed over unless there is something very specific about the ergonomics that tick the journo off. I honestly get more from most youtube reviews than I ever do about reviews written on a page.
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